I don't understand the TV game: Karan Johar (Interview)

He's the man behind many a Bollywood hit and has also been a success in his avatars as judge and talk show host on television. But Karan Johar says categorically that he won't be delving into fiction on the small screen because he ca

Saturday, June 01, 2013 | 12:24:36 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Interview with Filmmaker karan johar

He's the man behind many a Bollywood hit and has also been a success in his avatars as judge and talk show host on television. But Karan Johar says categorically that he won't be delving into fiction on the small screen because he can't find the right connect.

The director, who connected with the young with his first film "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" in 1998 and continues to narrate young stories like "Student of the Year" even after 15 years, says candidly that he's unable to understand the nitty-gritty of fiction shows and their rating systems.

"I am not interested in producing fiction for Indian television at all, the reason being that I don't understand the medium. I can be a judge or a host; I can do that as an individual. But to produce TV content, you have to know the game," Karan told IANS in an interview.

"You have to know how to cater to the TRPs and I think I will be the wrong choice for it. I don't get it and I don't belong to it," he added.

Although the 41-year-old fights shy of creating fiction shows for the small screen, he has produced and hosted three successful seasons of chat show "Koffee With Karan" for TV.

Later, he made "Lift Kara De". And judged reality shows like "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5" and fourth season of "India's Got Talent".

The filmmaker says he admires people who understand the TRP game and keep up with it.

"Hats off to those who can go through the stress. The ratings go up and down every week and changing your content as per that (is tough). It is bad enough that we have to combat box-office pressures, I don't want to play the TRP game and ruin things for myself."

There was a time when TV produced stars like Smriti Irani, Sakshi Tanwar, Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roy, but not any longer.

"The popularity quotient of TV stars is diminishing. We don't have the Ram Kapoors and Ronit Roys any more. Besides Ram and Sakshi, who are still very popular, I guess our quotient of popularity has reduced. I think the whole impact of creating a star on TV is not there too much. I don't think that mania for TV stars is there," he


An overdose of the same genre is the reason, feels Karan.

"I think there was an overdose for a certain kind of TV and finally people are catching up and maybe they are up for a new kind of genre. '24' produced by Colors might be a game changer," he said.

Karan takes his stint on TV forward as a judge on the sixth season of Colors' dance reality show "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa".

He feels that a judge shoulders a lot of responsibility and what he says can make or break someone's career.

"I can't say it is challenging, but it is important that you get the right tonality even when you are judging because what you say matters a lot to the contestant who has worked so hard," he said.

"You can't treat it frivolously. So many careers depend on what you say as everyone wants to win it. All the comments which we make are what they take back with them. We take our job seriously."

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Posted on: 03 June 2013 at 12:37am
I liked watching hindi films, but that was until 2006. After that, most of the films that kept coming our way, were weak on script, catering mainly to the masses, who'd like to pay for what we refer to as a typical " BW masala flick " with item numbers, latkas and jatkas etc. The appeal that BW once had, seems lost to me. The charm has really diminished. Eversince, we hardly come across films that have for real, left an impact. It's become more of a money making business than a display of creativity and passion of a film maker.

I don't even remember, when was the last time I chose watching a BW flick in my free hours over a HW classic or a tv soap. He might be right with the guess that , just because it worked in BW, doesn't mean in can work with TV & vice versa. SLB's show is an example. The TRPs aren't shooting high or something.

But I disagree with him on the fact that Television actors do not have as big a fanbase. I mean, he really needs to get himself acquainted with the kinda frenzy that a TV actor can generate once he/she clicks with the masses. They are hounded by fans wherever they go, they are even stalked from what I know ! Barun Sobti, Sanaya Irani, Drashti Dhami etc I mean these are BIG people and names in the TV world , who have enormous fanbase, both national and international.People wouldn't stop screaming out of excitement everytime Sobti stood up in the UK event last year. They wouldn't let him speak.

<br/>Indian TV has progressed in leaps and bounds ! People are able to connect to it more than people are to BW flicks. TV and it's actor, they're reaching everyone, everywhere through the screens and also in the form of online forums, fanclubs, channel & show apps etc.

TV and TV actors can make you gaze with awe and astonishment , once they click.

Edited on:03 June 2013 at 12:46am

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 11:58pm
I liked his view abt making tv shows bt disagree on his comment on tv stars.I guess he doesnt know the reality bt tv stars nowadays r popular than ever.well there r many examples in front of our eyes.he only mentioned ektas actors coz ekta is his friend and honestly ektas shows dont have the same dominance as few years actors r no way less talented than bw actors.

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 9:37pm
I agree with this part that if you are successful in BW then it does not mean that you can handle TV as well. The medium is actually very different. BUT I totally disagree on the point of TV celebs' popularity. Now TV is not just a box where you could find a monotonous atmosphere. It has changed a lot and people feel more closer to TV celebs than BW celebs. Just follow the popularity of Barun Sobti, Sanaya, Drashti and many more and you'll get a clear picture of TV KJ.

Edited on:02 June 2013 at 9:38pm

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 9:30pm
i disagree with this.. these days TV actors are more polar than BW stars.. i think he is a big fan of Ekta.. all the Tv stars he mentioned above doesn't have great fan following as per me.. its KSG, Barun, VD, GC, JSG, DD, Sanaya irani who are the telly stars... he really doesn;t fit for TV when he doesn;t know these starts popularity and fan following.. KJ you better stay in BW.

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 5:34pm
I disagree also with his comment about TV stars. Because they're in our homes every day through the television I believe they are actually more popular than the movie stars. Barun and Sanaya created an absolute frenzy, so much so the show shut down due to Barun's departure. When these tv stars show up at events, hundreds show up to see them. people traveled to London to see Star Plus actors. We see Bollywood stars once, twice maybe three times a year in movies. I have 60 episodes of Iss Pyar on my dvr. I can see Barun & Sanaya every day. I haven't seen Kajol & SRK together in years. TV's got talent Karan Johar, and we're watching every day.

Edited on:02 June 2013 at 5:34pm

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 2:17pm
Karan is spot on about the TRP game. Just because you are successful in bollywood does not mean you can be successful in TV industry. The medium is completely different. The demands of the audience and the execution is completely different. What works for movies does not necessarily work for TV. That is when it really makes you appreciate the amount of pressure the TV writers are under and at the same time makes you feel sorry for them too when they can see their own product being changed and chopped according to the threats and demands of the channel which movie writers don't necessarily have to do. Ya, so even though you maybe a highly successful bollywood director that does not automatically mean you can succeed in the TV world.

Coming to the actors, Kjo is definitely living in a different world. I think we all enjoy movies of actors such as Hrithink Roshan, SRK, Aamir, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham and the so on. Yet it is the likes of actors such as Gurmeet, Mitalli Nag, Mohit Raina, Barun, Sanaya, Iqbal Khan and Kratika Sengar that people would love to meet. Some of these actors may not have a huge online fan base but walk out on the streets of India and ask the people who generate these TRPs and they will instantly talk about Jhansi or Arachana or a Afsar Bittiya. And then ofcourse we have the actors who are immensely popular among the online viewers as well as a certain population of the TRP producing audience. These actors are so much more real to them than the actors of bollywood. The connection the mass has with these actors is probably beyond comprehension to the bollywood directors and stars who live in their own glass castles. LOL. And he has got to be kidding about Ekta Kapoor. The era of EK domination is over. There are so many more PHs who can write better stories with much more substance than this lady does right now and not just that who also have the ability to create stars with immense following.

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 12:02pm

I can't believe he said that

Must be really a blind lover of Ekta lol

I disagree with him- it is NOW when tv actors are more popular like BW stars.
I don't remember any tv actor back in the days lol

IMO India has more talented actors on tv then in BW

Edit: just read the Arictcle- he only mentioned the BAHL actors being popular - maybe cuz that's what his mom watches .

He had said it once he watches that show because his mom watches it. He shouldn't have said all this in a article when he doesn't know the reality.

Actually Ronit Roy's brother had said the same too a while back- that to me came out as he was frustrated cuz he doesn't get much work on tv

I guess everyone has their own agenda when they make such comments

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 11:08am
i think he s not aware of the TV world and the crazy fans out there...

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Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 10:41am
Posted on: 02 June 2013 at 10:34am
sir u really need to know more about tv actors
what u think is not right
many tv stars like barun,sanaya gurmeet.drashti,ksg etc...are more popular as bolywood nd i think more than that
so please think once before saying anything

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